Archive for the 'Book Picked Me' Category

Heft

Thoughts heftbylm by Liz Moore, Blackstone Audio 2012, 11 hrs 44 min

Narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Keith Szarabajka

I really enjoyed this. I rated this five slices of lemon pie.

I have read some interesting reviews that mention the ambiguous ending and a disturbing date rape scene. I would like to discuss. If you have read this book, read on and chime in. If you haven’t yet, you can keep reading at your own peril.

Quote:  “… the whole place smelled like lemon and pie.”  –  in Chapter Two

We meet Arthur Opp who is a former professor of English who has not left his house in 10 years while eating and eating and eating himself into a weight estimated between 550 and 600 pounds. He has received contact from a former romantic interest; she was one of his students who had to quit school but became a pen pal who hadn’t corresponded in many years. Arthur decides that this contact should be pursued and makes strides to start ‘moving and improving’ if possible, and it was quite delightful to hear his fears about new acquaintances and situations that impact him on this ‘waking up’.

Another story line is told from the perspective of the son of Arthur’s former penpal/student/love interest. He’s a high school baseball jock hoping for a chance at the big leagues so he can avoid college. His mom is a mess, to put it bluntly.

Even at 80% when the reader KNOWS that these story lines MUST crash or converge or cross OR SOMETHING (all caps to demonstrate how passionately I was worried about this!), it was mind-boggling to speculate how this book would end!  When and how would these story lines tie together?

And thus the ambiguity, because… they almost don’t, not really. But I liked it. I liked it very much, even after a few days of listening to the last word and thinking about it. Even after I listened to that last word and said out loud, “Is that IT?!”

I had feared this would be an ugly cry book. I did cry (gently) at about 95% through or so — When Arthur admits that you don’t get to pick your family and sometimes families suck. So sometimes you have to pick your own substitute family.

    ♦

Now. The date rape. It didn’t bother me. I mean, sure, it BOTHERS me, and bother is too soft a word for this crime. It’s wrong, it’s scary and it’s wrong-&-scary. I get it. But this scene in this book was realistic and I wasn’t put in that place of objectively confronting my feelings on how the scene played out. (And truthfully, since this was audio, I swear I thought he stopped – maybe in my mind, he did and even though he admits that he sensed her being uncomfortable and he didn’t care, I thought I heard in the telling that he eventually DID stop. But I’m not going to go try and find that place in the audiobook and listen again. I’ll keep my version. Maybe he stopped not out of a conscience to suddenly respect the girl, so that is problematic, true.

I did think that he protested too much to his girlfriend later (thus, only confirming my version of the event, actually) but I want to say to those reviewers on goodreads who had a problem with the date rape scene being too casual and not dealt with in an appropriately severe manner consequentially to the perp, I GET IT.

But I don’t think it shows the author of being lackadaisical to the issue. I think she presented it just like it might happen. Life sucks. Books don’t always get to be the platform for a moral and a lesson. They get to be messy.

This book had charm and grit and attempts to find the light when all you can see is the dark. You don’t have to like the characters; yes, they were flawed. They were real.

I recommend this book. I recommend the audio.

I will read more by this author.

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

Thoughts aytvimcbych Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler, Gallery Books 2008, 264 pages

FIRST Sentence: I was nine years old and walking myself to school one morning when I heard the unfamiliar sound of a prepubescent boy calling my name.

TRUTH: Her first essay in this collection was my favorite, Blacklisted. About her amazing ability to embellish and think grandiose stories on a dime, Chelsea demonstrates her ability to talk and cajole and invent wild entertaining tales.

It went downhill after this.

I just got bored with her inane over-the-top depravity.

DEPRAVITY: quality of demonstrating an evil and immoral character.

So maybe, evil is a bit strong and misleading. I really wouldn’t call her evil – it’s just all sex and raunchy and well, . . . boring.

Maybe ‘debauched’ is a better word?

DEBAUCHED: to lead away from virtue* or excellence.

Yea, whatever.

I admit. I’ve only seen her show a few times. I thought she was funny. This book wasn’t that funny. Occasionally, a situation was chuckle-worthy but overall, if I chose to dwell on such concepts like ‘regret’, I could easily regret the time I spent with this book.

By the way, a few antonyms for DEBAUCHED are elevate, ennoble and uplift. I need to spend more time with these kinds of words.

Have a nice day!

Enjoy these flowers from my garden: FullSizeRender

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* I am in the THICK (~86%) of the ‘speech’ that is looooong in Atlas Shrugged. Might have something to do with my mind-boggling contemplations of virtue and morality, at the moment.

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Big Little Lies

Thoughts bllbylm Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, Amy Einhorn Books / Penguin Group 2014, 460 pages

WHY I read this now:  Cuz I saw that Lisa of Lit & Life was reading it so it might be considered a case of a stalking-readalong. ha! I needed something different and fun to contrast while reading Atlas Shrugged.

FIRST Sentence/s: “That doesn’t sound like a school trivia night,” said Mrs. Patty Ponder to Marie Antoinette. “That sounds like a riot.”

What’s it ABOUT: Parents who meet at Kindergarten Orientation end up choosing sides over a bullying issue that ends up with someone being MURDERED!!  We know at the start that someone dies, but we don’t know who.

What’s GOOD: Everything? Funny and insightful balanced with serious stuff. Moriarity has the best characters and they say the darndest things. The plot placing with the slow reveal is excellent. I never quite had a grasp on who I could trust – it was always a bit unsettling and yet had many laughable moments. All the unknowns get settled and though murder doesn’t suggest a happy ending exactly, this one was satisfying.

What’s NOT so good: I can’t think of a thing. Having read Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret earlier this year, I can confidently say that this one is even better.

FINAL Thoughts: Do not dismiss this as chick lit. The tendency might be to think this is light whodunnit — chick lit? Pretty cover? I think this does fit the women’s fiction category. Oh bother. WHO CARES? Why the genrefication crap? Anyway — Moriarty tackles heavy stuff in this without ever being heavy-handed. I LOVE books that do the balance well.

Make me laugh, be snarky & smart, tackle something important. Add a few feisty princesses and BINGO.

Other REVIEWs:

Michelle at That’s What She Read says, “Ms. Moriarty deftly combines the serious with the frivolous to make her story enjoyable without losing the impact of her key messages.”

Melissa at Avid Reader’s Musings concludes, “The author makes the characters come alive. She can deal with dark subject matter without making the whole book feel dark.”

Write Meg! gives it a 4.5 out of 5: “This is contemporary, domestic fiction that shimmers and shines; it’s engrossing, well-written, effortless to read. “

RATING: Five slices of pie. Five slices of Pink Lemonade Vanilla Pie with Salty Potato Chip Crust. Oh. Yea.

Breyers Summer Spring recipe shoot click on the pretty picture above to go to the recipe…

 

Did I convince you to try this? Anyone want me to send my copy? I will have a drawing if more than one of you wants it.

 

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Lost Lake

Thoughts llbysaa Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen, St. Martens Press 2014, 294 pages

I am seriously behind in reading the wonderful books by this lovely author! How did I allow to this happen!?

So, there is just something about an SAA book that I know I will love and I always do. Nothing out of place, always gives me all the feels, and I can be safe in knowing that my time inside the pages of these books will be wonderful.

There. I don’t really need to say any more.

If you don’t know of Ms. Allen (or Ms. Addison Allen – not sure if I need that middle name or not? Feel free to correct me to which form is best.) IF you don’t know of this author, click on the book cover and see what the goodreads folk have to say. Or do your own research or jump in and try one.

Have a lovely day.

Read for book club – meeting next week.

pieratingsmlRating:  Five slices of vanilla pie.

p.228 – “Eby laughed before she could stop herself. It was so pie-in-the-sky, like some great scheme a child would make up.”

p.280 – “Doctors rarely traveled to the End of the World, because payment was never a given, not even in the form of vanilla pie or a burlap bag of walnuts.”

Have you had vanilla pie? Do you have a recipe to recommend? I don’t think I’ve attempted a vanilla pie, I MUST try one, I must! (I suppose it is really just a banana cream without the bananas…)

Ken Haedrich has a Vanilla Cream Pie in his PIE book… piebook

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Bad Feminist

Thoughts bfbyrg Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Harper 2014, 320 pages

I often feel like a bad feminist. I’m not doing it right. My example is piss poor. I often feel unworthy to declare my feminist label.

Which is why this book is fabulous. No one can be the ultimate perfect feminist!

I know many Christians who certainly aren’t perfect and yet have no doubts to claim being Christian. It really is almost the second line of the ‘faith profession’ if you think about it. “I have sinned; forgive me.” and wa la! GRACE. And not to say this excuses bad behavior, I know. This post isn’t to defend my Christianity (and I am one), the point is that I should NOT be embarrassed to stand up and say,

“Yes, I’m a feminist.”

And I usually do, but…

I REALLY enjoyed Gay’s collection of essays on her life and her thoughts, her complications and her contradictions. Her courage to say these things loudly and proudly.

This book made me think about a lot of things. Maybe ALL of the things. I didn’t always agree but I appreciate the new viewpoints on the issues. I learned a few words, I learned much more about Scrabble than I knew I needed to know, I was introduced to many cool sounding books* that have made it to my tbr, and thus,

FIVE SLICES of PIE.

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* Kate Zembrano’s Green Girl or Heroines, anyone?

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Dorothy Parker Portable Library

Thoughts tvplbydp Viking Press 1963 (orig 1926-1944), 544 pages

“A One-Volume Edition of Her Stories & Poems including Here Lies: Laments for the Living, After Such Pleasures; Not so Deep as a Well: Enough Rope, Sunset Gun, Death & Taxes; and 5 Stories Now First Published in Book Form”

tpdpaudio Blackstone Audio 2007, Edited by Marion Meade/Narrated by Lorna Raver, 13 hrs 22 min

 

LOVED.

LOVED THIS SO MUCH.

and yet, I wonder if best in smaller doses which means that I want somebody to buy me this for Christmas so I always have it on hand when I need.

I didn’t just devour this collection, I rolled in it like a dog rolls in mud. I read it higgledy-piggledy, jumping around as I do with short story collections that aren’t themed, and I listened to the audiobook. I read some and then I listened some. I mostly listened to the poetry rather than read and many of the short stories I read and then listened immediately to experience it again.

YES. Dorothy is cleverly snarky and delivers excellent character ‘voice’. And much is NOT flattering. Just the kind of smart bitch that can deliver an insult without the insulted person realizing it because they just don’t get it. GOOD STUFF.

She really sees a situation, every nuance, every discrepancy, all the hypocrisy. Though delightfully funny, it has poison-laced sadness, too.

Highly recommended.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

 

The Boston Girl

The Boston Girl tbgbyad by Anita Diamant, Scribner 2014, 320 pages

I purchased this from an independent bookseller in Newport RI. I promptly went back to the boat and devoured this. I then passed it on to a friend who I’m sure will only think it ‘meh’. But I could be wrong. We never like the same books…

I would rate it 3.5 stars but am boosting or rounding up to 4 because there are some awesome pie mentions!

What’s it ABOUT: A Jewish woman, Addie Baum, reminisces her childhood and life beyond in a retelling to her granddaughter. It has sad and scary moments and a few laughs;  overall she has found Love and has lived a wonderful life.

I’m not really sure it has much plot. (Which is why I think my friend won’t like it.)

It is warm and uplifting and reminds me to cherish my friendships.

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey

Thoughts tlsoqhbyrja The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce, Random House Audio 2014 (Bond Street Books 2014), 10 hours 36 minutes, Narration by Celia Imrie

Publisher’s blurb:  In this poignant parallel story to Harold’s saga, acclaimed author Rachel Joyce brings Queenie Hennessy’s voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, Queenie makes a journey of her own, a journey that is even bigger than Harold’s. One word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths–about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea.  

What’s it ABOUT:  Read the bit above.

Why did I read this:  BECAUSE I LOVED HAROLD FRY. Can’t help it. I did.

What’s the big deal:  You all know that book that sends some one over the-top enthusiastic for a lovely lovely charming deep made-me-cry book and OH SO CHARMING!  (I think I just like charming)  YOU BECOME WARY. Anyway, and then you read that same book and it’s GOOD, it’s maybe better than OK; but it didn’t light the pilot light of your gas stove, yaknowwhatImean, and you wonder what was wrong. Was it mood?  Was it a different odd energy connection?

I’m just going to say it but I think Rachel Joyce is now my new favorite author. Certainly one of my top 3 fiction writers and I now I can’t decide if I should rush out to buy/read her Perfect novel or wait. Do I wait?  Will the third-book-jinx strike?!  I seem to have a thing about the third book being disappointing.

And I do think it is because I’m so wrapped up expecting fireworks of amazement that I miss the comfortable hmmm-this-is-GOOD in a GOOD solid way?

I know that Harold Fry was a head-scratcher for some of my friends (and regular people on goodreads, yikes) and I know that Ti and I usually do NOT agree on books and we are both adoring fans of Harold. So… I don’t even know what that means.

OK. Here’s what it means.

I doesn’t matter. Sometimes a books is AMAZING and sometimes it is not but I love ALL of it. I even love my 2 star reads (because they make me feel smart?)

We don’t have to agree and we don’t have to apologize or feel bad for any reading experience, ever.

I do love my 2-star reads. [GOODREADS SAYS TWO STARs MEANs “It’s OK.”] I have only read one or two seriously disappointing books (one star or less) IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Those incredibly bad but with arrogant authors that can’t be separated from any of their so-called prose; that made me all stabby and want to ban said author from any publishing world.

And I think that is a darn fine track record.

The books I read are not to impress you. They are to impress me. and IMPRESS doesn’t mean here TO THINK WELL OF, but to make some kind of IMPRESSION ON. Three star books are extremely valuable to me; they temper, they allow me to be super dooper impressed when the chemistry and stars align for the OMG-awesome books.

If Harold Fry didn’t wow your socks off, then I doubt you need to read Queenie’s journey. But if you love the deep and sad and the happy and touching and want to see if this delivers? Read Miss Queenie’s version (but read Harold first, due to spoilers) and I dare you not to cry. Then call me when you are done and we can cry together. Joy is not a feeling to be trifled with.

I love books that touch me like this one did. And I wasn’t sure it was going to until the end. (much like Harold’s book, actually). And yet. I know that there are more books for me to experience which just might top!  Isn’t that tremendously exciting? I’m totally showing off my book-geekness, I know…

AND. Oh do I dare say this? I did find flaws with this book. I did have some issues but they just paled compared the goodness I saw and felt.

Quotes:

“I realized that I had looked for these landmarks instead of saying goodbye. But sometimes, you don’t say the word because you think the thing is ongoing; when actually, it is already over.”

“They were a delicious bunch. But always forgetting the sensible things like food and daylight and only remembering the more intoxicating things like love and gin.”

“The sorrow is not gone, it just no longer hurts as much.”

The narration is wonderful.

Rating: Five slices of British Meat Pie.

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

How To Build a Girl

Thoughts HtBaGbyCM How To Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran, Harper 2014, 352 pages

WHY I read this: I think it might have been on sale. I had it on my Kindle. Amazon tells me when but not how much I spent; the when was January of this year. When we took off for a long weekend to Kentucky, I realized that I hadn’t brought any other books with me besides Pet Sematary. Well. I had been limiting my reading to 30 pages per day of PS and the long car ride meant that I would have more time than book. So upon opening my Kindle app on the iPad, I saw How to Build a Girl. Perfect antidote to King, was my first thought.

Truthfully, I forget about books hiding in the eBook apparatuses.* They are so silent and unobtrusive. I had to move this book to last priority, though, when I realized a book club book that was SITTING in the OBVIOUS SPOT right on the stairs was jumping up and down screaming not to be forgotten like good little visible hard copy BookBooks tend to do (unlike eBooks which hide, do not jump up and down, nor scream.)

Initial CONFUSIONS: However, I was instantly confused because I had it in my head that this book was Moran’s memoir. Funny that the main character was named Johanna and more odd that it started with what it started with. I had to check goodreads to see what was the what. Yep, I had confused this novel with her How to Build a Woman book. Oops.

What It’s ABOUT: Johanna is a mere child with thoughts in her head most unlike any thoughts I had in my head at that age. Oh my. I liked her. I probably had the same tendency to talk too much and talk too much about myself but we did not have similar ideas about what we wanted when we grew up.

She is brave and fearful. She has a positive spirit. She is ambitious and naive (I was naive.) She manages to get a writing gig for a rock and roll magazine. She did things with no moral compass and yet her morality-humanity did suggest an extremely kind soul. Except when she was skewering bands she didn’t like. She was one big fierce imaginative force.

What’s GOOD: Many laugh out loud passages. Many keen observations about how life could/should be approached.

What’s NOT so good: The jarring switch in viewpoint from her teen self to her smarter older self, every so often.

FINAL Thoughts: The goodreads reviews that hated this are an interesting contrast to the ones that loved it. I just really liked Johanna, a refreshing bold new character to cheer for.

RATING: Four slices of Shepherd’s Pie.

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“I’m going to need a bigger boat. This is my recurrent problem.”  p.75

“We must away, to pastures new.” also p.75

DODDLE – easy

SCALLY – a low life loser

Book Connection- Links to Dept. of Speculation!  “I resolve that for the rest of my life, at least once a day, I wil remember this. I think it must be most cheering thought I have ever had.” p.143 [Both books try to savor and file away a happy memory for possible reference at a later time as needed.]

Book Reference – Norwegian Wood (I have no idea nor do I think I want to know what this really was a reference to…) p.149

“I think I cry for at least half an hour – the kind of crying that is like rain where it starts without warning, and violently, but eases off into sudden rainbows, and blackbirds calling out in gratitude as they swoop across wet lawns. The weeping of relief.” p.154

“For someone who lives in a house without mirrors, seeing yourself talked about by others is exhilariing. I’d alwasy had a slight worry that I might not exist – that I was a very long dream I was having.”  p.207

“”I keep breaking penises,” I think to myself dolorously on the 37 heading toward Euston station.” p.239

SCOPEY – “I simply wept, exhaustedly, in the bath, feeling very, very scopey.” p.256

“Pain has made me older and wiser. Yesterday, when I found this house messy, I cleanedit from top to bottom, like a good girl. Today, they can all go fuck themselves. Housework is endless. I am never opting in again.” p. 258

“we are all breakable. So just be kind.” p.262

“This is the terrible thing about learning everything from books – sometimes you don’t know how to say the words.” p.289

“The point of life is joy – to make it, to receive it.” p.304

“Pig Pye (14th century): Flea Pyg and cut him in pieces. Practically nothing is wasted in a good pig. A pig killed in November would still provide fresh meat, brawn and pie until Christmas.” p.311

“There is a leaving party for me, at Uncle Jim’s house – “Because we’re not having a party here,” my mother says, firmly, dishing out shepherd’s pie in the front room.” p.326

* The interwebs are frowning on my plural use of apparatus. Nope, not apparati but pieces of apparatus. Whatever. My blog, my misuse of the English language. I own it.

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Pet Sematary

When I typed the title above, my hope is it will be the last time I ever do so after this:

Thoughts psbysk Pet Sematary by Stephen King, 1983, 562 pages

TONS AND TONS OF SPOILERS.

I am thoroughly of the opinion that if you read further it is because

1. You’ve already read this so therefore anything I could and will say will not surprise nor disturb, and/or

2. You are likely NOT to read this EVEH, having no interest whatsoever in reading any scary King-shit (no offense to Uncle Stevie), and hate horror reading due to nightmare-inducing, shiver-provoking, anti-sympathies to silly scary freaky things.

You’ve been warned.

I had problems with this and yet still rated it four slices of pie.

Four slices of the very best juiciest plumpest sweetest blueberries ever encountered in a pie. With THE BEST vanilla ice cream. No whipped cream here. Home churned true vanillla, the ice cream that makes your teeth hurt cuz it is so cold.

Here are my problems.

Please forgive me if I just failed…  failed to find the answers to these because I missed them in the text. Oh well.

WHAT the heck happened to the family who lived in the house before the Creeds????????!?!??!??!?!

Why the heck did kids maintain the path to the Pet Sematary – the FAKE one? who cares, WHY.  WHY!?!?!?!

WHO did not protest any kids on their property maintaining said path?  WHA?

What was wrong with these people of Ludlow that they would humor kids to bury their pets on someone else’s property?

What the fuck WAS that Wendigo and why did he walk over Louis on his way to bury Gage?

How did Ellie react to her “NEW” parents? How did that go over? somebody tell me that, cuz it is seriously bothering me.

If I have any scary dreams from this book it is of Zelda.

Please don’t anyone tell Joann that her adorable dog is named after one of the creepiest characters in a King novel ever.

Jill’s linking the Wendigo to Johnny Depp has ruined my love for him. His birthday is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day and now I don’t know – I’m hoping I can totally forget this stupid link – I dunno. Might be ruined. Very very sad. I love Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Sniff.

I am placing this between Carrie and The Stand on my LIST OF KING.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Don’t play with death. Death won’t play nice.

One more thing: HUH?! Did Steve Masterson never go to work again? Did Louis Creed not go to work again? Did they drive to Chicago and freak out poor Ellie?  and then what? DISNEY WORLD?  Seriously.

(Actually, I had been wondering how this book would end having guessed most of the horror and I like how Uncle Stevie did this. But SO MANY QUESTIONS!!!!)

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Well.  Misery in June, anyone?

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Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

I prefer pi.

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